General info: Apocalyptic is a subgenre of Science Fiction centered around the onset of some kind of global catastrophe, which most often destroys the planet, or humanity, or a significant part of both. In 1805, a prose poem “The Last Man,” written by Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grenville extolled how technological progress leads humanity to destruction. The theme was continued in Mary Shelley’s novel The Last Man (1826), the first in a long series about the death of humanity from an epidemic.
Cultural overview: Herbert George Wells, Gregory Dale Bear, Nevil Shute Norway, Kurt Vonnegut, Samuel Youd, Stephen Edwin King, Robert Sheckley, John Wyndham, Garrett Putnam Serviss, Maximillian Michael Brooks.
While the first works of this genre appeared in the 19th century, the real heyday for Apocalyptic writing was born out of the 20th Century Cold War. Many stories this time center on thermonuclear war and its catastrophic impact. Humanity’s fear of the real threat of the end of the world became the basis of this genre, one that has lingered on into today. Current Apocalyptic fiction also deals with fears of environmental collapse, especially due to climate change. In the age of pandemics like COVID-19, more works have also focused on the potentially devastating impact of a deadly virus worldwide.
Meaning: Man’s fear of the end of the world is reflected in the mythology and religious beliefs of peoples from all over the earth, such as Norse mythology’s conception of Ragnarok, but after the invention of the nuclear bomb, people could physically sense the possibility of the end of mankind. Apocalyptic fiction peaked in this post-war period, and continues to this day.
Most used keywords: #Alien invasion, #monster, #Environmental disaster, #Carnivorous virus, #Zombie, #Last Judgment, #Ragnarök, #Nuclear war, #meteorite, #Mutations, #chaos, #experiments of scientists, #demons
Distinctive traits of symbols: There are different ways to end the world in apocalyptic fiction. There are options for alien invasions, robot uprisings, zombie apocalypses, pandemics, volcanic eruptions, the end of the world described in religions and mythologies of the world, nuclear wars and failed experiments that lead to the mutations of all nature. These various end-of-the-world scenarios all have differences in the symbolism and design. For example, at the religious end of the Apocalyptic spectrum, hell usually comes to earth and demons invade our dimension. In natural disasters, the power of the elements and the insignificance of man are shown in comparison with the power of nature.